Home runs lead Roswell past Santa Fe
By Karen Boehler
Pecos League writer
SANTA FE — Sunday’s game at Fort Marcy Park proved once again that standings don’t always determine the outcome of a baseball game. It also showed that a 285-foot right-field fence can make a big difference in a game.
The Invaders, who lead all teams with a 20-6 record, faced off against the Fuego, who are tied for second from the bottom of the league. But the game was a close 6-5 Roswell victory, with five of the Invader runs coming on home runs, all off starter Austin Carden.
Still, said Santa Fe manager Bill Moore, “He was very good. I’m not crying. I don’t want anybody to think I’m crying. They hit, I think of their six runs, I think five of them on a regular-sized baseball field would have been routine outs. So Austin threw well. He threw very well.”
Other than the short-porch shots — and three of the Fuego runs came on a home run — both coaches agreed it was a great game.
“I think both starting pitchers did great,” said Roswell manager Chris Ebright. “Coming up here, everyone was talking about the 19 to 12 games or whatever it might be. Tonight was a great baseball game by both sides. We put the ball in play when we needed to. Pitchers made pitches when they needed to and then the end of the game both teams kind of took advantage of the short right-field fence, but today was exciting.”
“Played well. Our guys played well,” Moore agreed. “They played a good baseball game. It was good competition. Good competitive baseball game for 27 outs, both teams.”
Ryan Normoyle put the first run on the board with the first of his three — yes three — home runs in the game. In the second, Andrew Deeds singled and scored on a Reggie Taylor double, the only non-HR score for the Invaders.
Roswell pitcher Jonathan Sa allowed his first run in the third when Bryson Sims doubled, and, after advancing on an error, scored on a Josh Barnett single.
Deeds added one more Roswell run with a dinger in the fourth, and after a scoreless fifth and sixth by both starters, the batters on both sides took advantage of the late inning.
Chad Kruse singled and scored on Normoyle’s second out-of-the-part shot Sunday, while Santa Fe added one in the bottom of the stanza.
Even Mansell singled, then, with one out, Sa walked Eric Scott and Sims singled, scoring Mansell. Ebright brought in Chad Hardison, who closed out the seventh but had a tougher time in the eighth.
After Charlie Henjy shut Roswell down in the top of the inning, Jimmy Maxwell drew a one-out walk and Mansell a two-out walk, then Kellen Lee hit his third home run in two games, tying the score at 5-5.
“Kellen’s been playing very well,” Moore said of his catcher. “He’s kind of come around. When he first got here he was very good with the bat then he kind of went through a little slump and thanks goodness he’s back. And when he doesn’t have a good night with the bat, he certainly plays outstanding defense behind the plate.”
That set up the ninth-inning heroics by Normoyle, who hit a 2-1 pitch out of the park for the third time in the game. Ryan Rogers then closed things down for Roswell.
“I thought we played well,” Moore said. “Basically, in all aspects of the game I thought we played well. I would have like to see us hit more, but once again, I think last night and tonight they threw a pretty good guy against us. They closed out with some left-handed guy (Rogers) who just pounded the inside third of that strike zone and made it hard on our hitters.”
Ebright felt about the same regarding his hitting.
“I would have liked to put the ball in play a few more times with runners in scoring position. Less than two outs,” he said. “But again, tip your hat to the Fuego pitcher. Carden. He kept us off balance. He has three or four pitches he threw for strikes. We put the ball in play, but they made us spread out our hits, so tip your hat to them.”
And, with only one error by each team, the defenses continue to improve.
“Defense was actually what we wanted,” Ebright said. “The beginning of the year we’d boot the ball around a little bit. Actually a lot, and it’s one of the things we were working on. Our guys would panic when things would get going and they finally settled down and they’re reading good hops and that’s why we brought them here. They’re coming around.”
The teams will face off again Monday at 6 p.m. in Fort Marcy Park, with Kevin Camacho starting for the Fuego and Ed Kohout for Roswell.
Phil Grondin contributed to this story
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